Sept. 12, 2009
"The Lord recompense you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under Whose wings you have come to take refuge!"
"A Fruit-Full Time"
What We Reap
"Lord, by Thy word my rule
In it may I rejoice;
Thy glory be my aim,
Thy holy will my choice.
Thy promises my hope;
Thy providence my guard;
Thine arm my strong support
Thyself my great reward."
What is the reward I want to reap?
What does the word "reward" mean to me?
"How vast the treasures we possess!
How rich Thy bounty, King of grace!
This world is ours, and worlds to come;
Earth is our lodge, and heaven our home."
"Like newborn babies you should crave the pure, unadulterated spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto salvation. Since you have already tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord.
1 Peter 2:2, 3
Growing up in Arizona, where a summer monsoon storm can arrive very quickly and dump a substantial amount of rain within minutes, I've found myself, more than once, caught without an umbrella, or any other shelter, for that matter. When this happens, you can be "soaked to the bone," ending up completely wet from head to toe.
Several weeks ago, when again, I found myself in a situation like I just described, I was fortunate to see a wooden shelter close by. The makeshift roof was enough to keep the downpour from getting me all wet. A refuge for one in need!
In our texts yesterday and today, there are recorded the words of Boaz, telling Ruth how he had heard she had been a "sower" of great kindness in her life. He heard about the gracious way Ruth had taken care of her mother-in-law, Naomi. But he also told Ruth he wanted God to "recompense" her, or as the Hebrew states, Boaz wanted the Lord to, "make her safe in mind, body and estate, and make her complete." However, Boaz didn't stop with this desire for Ruth's life. He continued by telling Ruth he was asking God that she receive a "full reward." Now this word "reward," as used in this text in the Hebrew means, "wages." I find this so interesting, especially if you combine this text with a story Jesus told in the New Testament. Some of His followers weren't keen about this particular parable from Matthew 20. As Jesus told the story, the owner of an estate needed workers to assist in his vineyard. So he set the pay at a "denarius for a day." However, we are told that throughout the day, he hired more workers until 5pm when the estate owner, "went out and found still others standing around, and said to them, ‘why do you stand here idle all day?' They answered him, ‘Because nobody has hired us. He told them, ‘You go out into the vineyard also and you will get whatever is just and fair. When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workmen and pay them their wages, beginning with the last and ending with the first. And those who had been hired at 5pm came and received a denarius each. Now when the first came, they supposed they would get more, but each of them also received a denarius. And when they received it, they grumbled at the owner of the estate" (Matthew 20:6-11, Amplified Bible).
It appears that "rewards" or "wages" in God's eyes are not the same as they are in our eyes. We sometimes think our rewards should be based on length of service or the results of our service. As we found out yesterday, the seeds we sow should be from hearts filled with heaven's love and gratitude, not from hearts that sow to get something in return. If we look at Ruth's life, as a Moabite, the Israelites didn't think "their God" owed her anything. As a "heathen" she didn't deserve to be paid at all. Yet, here comes Boaz, who not only wants his God to make Ruth complete and whole, but wants his God to pay her the "full wages!" And you know what I like about this story, it's that Boaz, by the words he spoke and the actions he took, gives you and me a clearer picture of the God he knew. Boaz reflected a God of gracious kindness and mercy. He was an example of a God of extreme generosity. And as I look at the way Boaz lived his life and the way he treated Ruth, it helps me to understand how I, too, am called to radiate what God has sown in my life. The comfort and compassion Boaz exhibited was also what he saw reflected in Ruth. And her kindness extended down to Naomi. Not because they would all get a reward for their behavior, but because their actions reflected the seeds planted in their hearts.
Not long ago, I saw a pastor on television say, "If you just plant a seed of $100, you'll get back 10 times that amount. You'll get money flowing in beyond your wildest dreams."
Perhaps this gentleman hadn't read Matthew 20 about the vineyard workers or about Ruth, whose reward was not based on what they did but whom they worked for. In their Master's field, the reward was a "full reward" for all. And what exactly was the reward? Boaz shared the answer when he said to Ruth, may you receive a full reward, "given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge." This is what I call payment in full at the maximum wage. When we choose to "sow" in God's field, we reap the blessing of being covered under the wings of our Father. We may not have a fancy car in the driveway. Or a big diamond ring. Or a mansion on earth, but I ask you, "When the showers of life descend upon you, under whose shelter do you wish to abide?"
In the words of David, the Psalmist, "Blessed is (she) who takes refuge in God." This is our "full reward!" It is a result of sowing and reaping in our Master's field.
"When God crowns our merits, it is nothing other than his own gifts that He crowns."
"O taste and see that the Lord our God is good! Blessed and fortunate is the (woman) who trusts and takes refuge in Him."
"O taste and see
Now is the time for the good wine
Pressed from the fruit of the tree
Now is the time for rejoicing
In the place where the feast will be
O taste and see
And refresh us with love.
Leave all the cares of the growing
Just let the mystery sing
Magic of ripening and pruning
And the fullness that time will bring
O taste and see
And refresh us with love.
Sweet-tasting cup of our loving
Promise of pleasure and pain
Take it and drink of it deeply
For the new life it will contain
O taste and see
And refresh us with love."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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